|Last year in Kearney, Nebraska a university professor taught recess games.
Florida's Broward County, (one of our accounts) replaced freestyle recesses with teacher-supervised physical activities in 2007. In 2005 they made headlines by outlawing running on the playgrounds.
According to the Times' article, a growing number of schools see the use of recess coaches as a way to "curb bullying and behavior problems, foster social skills and address concerns for obesity in children.
Now on the opposing side, Dr. Romina M. Barros, an assistant clinical professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx feels the new structured recess programs ignore the benefits that children may get from daydreaming, solving problems among themselves without an adult referee and merely being "free to do what they choose to do" for at least a small part of their school day. Dr. Barros also feels that if the playground time merely becomes an outdoor classroom then children don't have the time for their brain to just relax.
Some parents agree with Dr. Barros. In one New Jersey Township, hundreds of them signed a protest petition after the school district replaced recess with a "midday fitness" program.
To think that kids may no longer have the option of spending recess just hanging around the swing sets, talking with friends, playing "Red Rover", Ring-Around-the Rosy, Hopscotch, tag or just being outside and enjoying nature. Those things were some of my most favorite memories of elementary school. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to enjoy those experiences. Well one good thing, recess coaches are not passing out grades. What a relief. They can't flunk four-square....Yet. HMMMMMM